Being a design consultant is a promising career for people who have an eye for aesthetics but still able to apply practicality. Balancing form and function is a delicate art that few people can master. Indeed, the skills and talent of a consultant is exceptional. But aside from this, there is another challenge that designers face when starting their projects. The common woe from designers is how to provide a good time estimate to their clients.
Underestimating the load and difficulty of a project is a usual mistake of design consultants. There are reasons why they usually commit this error:
· Unfamiliarity with tools and technology used in the project.
· No clear objectives and agenda during the planning phase.
· Inexperience of the project’s background.
· Estimation is done without the use of sensible data.
· Most of the time the client would immediately ask for a response and designers guess haphazardly to avoid rejection.
· Designers giving an incorrect estimate just to win the project.
This blunder will have a domino effect on the whole course of the project. Seasoned designers are able to guess correctly the time needed in finishing a certain project. Experience will tell them how much time they need to complete the work. But there is also the factor of wanting to win the project. Even experienced designers set an unrealistic timeline just to win the bid. Overestimating one’s talent and underestimating the demand of a project can only produce bad results.
There is a good way how to provide a real time estimate. It starts with the right attitude towards time management and task phasing. A time tracking tool can be helpful in plotting the important phases of a project. With this as a framework, a more reliable time estimate can be produced. Projects often follow this phase
· Research, surveying and planning
· Designing and Structuring
By applying a similar template for every project, one should be accustomed with the flow of tasks and time spent on it.
The next part is by going into details. Once the phases are defined, it is easier to break down the tasks to even more specific parts. This ensures that every step of project is taken care of. Each of these steps will then be given a definite time of completion. The time should be realistic and achievable. This can also guide the design consultant on the progress of the project.
Providing an estimate is not easy. A well planned foresight is needed to come up with the best estimate. A rushed estimate will only do more harm than good. Time tracking projects will indeed test the design consultant’s value of time. Only with the right attitude and action can a person be successful.